Gibeon: Its Archaeological, Geographical, and Contextual Significance -- By: David G. Hansen

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 20:1 (Winter 2007)
Article: Gibeon: Its Archaeological, Geographical, and Contextual Significance
Author: David G. Hansen

Gibeon: Its Archaeological, Geographical, and Contextual Significance

Colonel David G. Hansen (USA. Ret.), Ph.D.


In a recent article for this journal, I suggested that knowing the geographical context of Biblical events could help the reader better understand the total message of the Bible (Hansen 2005). Since the original readers and hearers of the Old Testament stories were familiar with the geography of ancient Israel, they could make important connections that helped explain how the character of God was revealed through places and events. Unfortunately, thousands of years later and even more miles away, our modern Western perspective, coupled with our unfamiliarity with Biblical geography, frequently obscures the Bible’s message of who God is and how He does things.

To illustrate the point in my 2005 article, I examined the history, archaeology and role of Shechem/Sychar in the Old and New Testaments. From Abram’s first encounter with God’s promise of salvation for all mankind in the Old Testament (Gn 12:6–7) to Jesus’ proclamation that He was the fulfillment of those promises in the New (Jn 4:5–26), Shechem was an integral part of the Biblical story of redemption and a place of blessings and curses.

In the present article I will examine another city, Gibeon— mentioned at least 40 times in the Old Testament—its sister towns, and the geography of the area, to illustrate God’s character and nature. Gibeon’s strategic location, overlooking a militarily important road system, is central to recognizing how God used an indigenous people to assist the Israelites in conquering the land. In the process, God showed mercy to those who accepted Him as the one true God. Further, our study will show that God honors those who are committed to His service.

The following study will also illuminate how God cares for all mankind and does what we would call “unusual” things to further His purposes. It is my belief that “Scripture expresses the nature of the world in which we live and reveals God’s nature, character and purposes through relationships with real people, in real time, and in real places so that God might be revealed as the One who desires relationship with the living” (Martin et al. 2004: 9).

©2006 Dr. James C. Martin. All Rights Reserved.

The site of Gibeon. The modern village of el-Jib is seen on the north side, left, of this hill and the undeveloped southern e...

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